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Wanna Make It In Hollywood? Get Blacklisted

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Sep 09, 2013 | 9:00pm EDT

Jim Rash, The DescendantsFox Searchlight

In the dark days of Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities hearings, many a screenwriter's career toppled. But that was then, and there's a new black list in town. You wanna be on this one.

Wittily named to portend black ink, The Black List is a think-tank for insiders in search of promising film scripts, recommended by hundreds of film executives. Since its inception in 2005, 200 scripts have been made into features, and 148 have garnered Oscar nods.

There are the ones you've likely heard of, like Slumdog Millionaire, but not all of them fare so well. Even with the right muscle behind it scripts can languish, like The Descendants, which was on the 2008 list but wasn't released until 2011.

And when Black List is on fire, as in 2007, blazing with properties like The Hangover, Whip It and The Town, this consortium of finely tuned minds can also be wrong. 2007 also saw serious dogs that couldn't be saved, like Clash Of The Titans, Valkyrie, and Yes Man.

Okay, so even those films made some dough. But money isn't everything. At least not for those of us trapped in a theater, running out of popcorn.

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